This is a subscriber-only article. Join Entrepreneur+ today for access

Learn More

Already have an account?

Sign in
Entrepreneur Plus - Short White
For Subscribers

How to Keep Toxic Negativity from Infecting Your Team Toxic negativity is contagious. Here's how to keep it from spreading in your workplace.

By Aytekin Tank Edited by Frances Dodds

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

JohnnyGreig | Getty Images

"Happiness is contagious" may be the sort of cheesy adage you're used to seeing splashed across coffee mugs and refrigerator magnets; a trite phrase your eyes pass over without really seeing. But it's also true. Studies have found that emotions quite literally travel in patterns in a way that's analogous to epidemiological models of disease.

The bad news is that while happiness may be catching, negativity is even more so. Researchers Christine Porath and Christine Pearson report that victims of others' bad attitudes are more likely to adopt bad attitudes themselves, thereby perpetuating the trend. Rudeness also has a tendency to transfer from bosses to employees, so much so that one in four people are rude because their bosses are. "Employees notice what seems to be working then they follow that lead, for better or worse," they explained in the Harvard Business Review.

Besides being a drag on those around you, being infected with negativity has been shown to have detrimental effects on our own physical health. Exposure can lead to a weakened immune system, and even compromise your ability to think: Prolonged stress can permanently destroy neurons in the hippocampus, which controls reason and memory.

The rest of this article is locked.

Join Entrepreneur+ today for access.

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Sign In